Salva Vida Team Returns, Finds Hope In Haiti

  LeGrand Fine Art Owner, Sue LeGrand is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) by profession.  She had the opportunity to volunteer her services with the surgical team Salva Vida in 2010 following the earthquake in Haiti.  There she learned how the Jacmel based non-profit organization Pazapa serves Haitian children in need and a wonderful arts community in Jacmel surviving despite many challenges.  Paintings purchased from local artists in Jacmel are available by donation to Pazapa.  All proceeds go directly to Pazapa.  The article below appeared in a Bon Secours Health System, Richmond, VA newsletter with photos by Sue LeGrand.

When Dr. Fred McGIynn, an orthopaedic surgeon, returned from his February medical mission to Haiti, he was glad to have served, but disheartened to leave. Everything seemed to still be in such chaos after the January earthquake - everything was rubble.

"l was really worried about their recovery/' said McGynn, who helped found the Salva Vida Fund to provide for medical missions to Haiti, Honduras, Belize. St. Vincent's and the Dominican Republic and who has made numerous trips to Haiti. "l didn't know how they would recover. I just couldn't come back here and feel very good.

But when McGIynn and another team from Salva Vida returned in May, he was filled with hope. Despite it continuing to take three hours to travel the 25 miles from Port-au-Prince to their base in Jacmel, he found that roads were being cleared and buildings were rebuilt and the work was being done by Haitians, with funding from international groups.

"They're rebuilding their own country" he said. "That's empowering them, and they have money to feed their families.

 Aid organizations were also more organized, and even getting back up to the level of services they offered before the 7.0 magnitude quake. The eight-person Salva Vida team served in Haiti May 9-28. They worked with Pazapa, a children's organization devastated in the earthquake but being rebuilt, and Community Coalition for Haiti, which provides health services for adults.

The Salva Vida team operated on children and adults who had deformities from birth (such as club feet), had been maimed in accidents or who had suffered complications from a lack of treatment or poor treatment for earthquake injuries. The physical and occupational therapists also provided long hours of treatment for both children and adults. Giving still needed But investment will be needed to continue that momentum.

As Haiti has fallen from the headlines, support may also decline, McGlynn said. "The devastation is so vast that we're going to go back more often," he said of Salva Vida. "Instead of once a year we're going at least twice a year. And we need financial assistance to go on." He said fall and winter trips are now being planned. To learn more about Salva Vida, visit the Bon Secours Richmond Health Care Foundation site, www.bsvaf.org, and look under "Areas of Need" and "CARE Funds." read more here

May 2010 Salva Vida Team pictured above: Dr Abey Albert, Anesthesiologist, St. Francis Medical Center, Sue LeGrand, CRNA, Nurse Anesthetist, St, Francis Medical Center, Dr. Fred McGIynn, Orthopaedist with Tuckahoe Orthopaedics and St. Mary's Hospital, Ginny Heatwole, RN, St. Mary's Hospital, Anne Chan, Physical Therapist, Sheltering arms Joy Sandlin, Occupational Therapist, Sheltering Arms, Matt Pulisic, Physical Therapist, private practice, Marie Paulette Charleus, RN, from Coral Springs, Fla., who was born in Haiti

Photo: The Salva Vida team in Haiti, sitting (left to right): Anika MacRae, Max MacRae, and their mother Marika MacRae, Pazapa Executive Director; kneeling: Matt Pulisic; standing: Paulette Charleus, Dr. Abey Albert, Sue LeGrand, Joy Sandlin, Dr. Fred McG\ynn, Ginny Heatwole, Tony Antoine (physical therapist with Pazapa), and Anne Chan.

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PAZAPA - Please help support the treatment, education, and development of Haitian children with disabilities

PAZAPA's mission is to support the treatment, education, and development of children with disabilities, and to integrate them into the community at large. PAZAPA means "step by step" in Haitian Creole, and step by step PAZAPA has been making a difference in the lives of Haiti's disabled children since 1987.

PAZAPA is based in Jacmel and serves the entire Southeast Department of Haiti.